By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
You can bet that the engineers at Toyota are not pleased that the Honda Odyssey is widely regarded as the best minivan in America. So they've done something about it. The new-for-2011 Sienna minivan offers an improved exterior design, better driving dynamics, a more accommodating interior and features that take it up several notches in the hotly competitive minivan category. With the redesign, it has certainly moved up on our list of desirable minivans.
The 2011 Toyota Sienna folds together many passenger-friendly features including the reclining, leg-rest-equipped second row seats and an entertainment system that lets the kids watch two different programs. For those of you in inclement climes, the Sienna is the only minivan to offer the option of all-wheel drive.
The Sienna can get pricey when compared to some of the competition like the Kia Sedona, but in terms of resale value the Sienna excels. We expect its overall ownership cost to be reasonable.
For 2011 the Sienna is completely re-engineered. Among the notable changes are the thoroughly upgraded new interior that includes optional lounge-type seating in the second row and a sport-tuned SE model with improved steering and handling. A four-cylinder-powered Sienna is also available.
Driving Impressions Both of the Toyota Sienna's engines deliver where it counts, whether you crave the fuel-sipping economy of the 2.7-liter four-cylinder or the extra punch provided by the 3.5-liter V6. The...four-cylinder-equipped Sienna is surprisingly acceptable, but for serious family- and cargo-hauling, the V6 is the engine to get. Power for both engines is managed by a smooth-shifting ECT five-speed automatic transmission. The base Sienna offers a quiet, soft ride that will cocoon driver and passengers, with the suspension floating effortlessly over potholes. For those who want a more involving driving experience, however, we recommend the sporty SE trim, which offers a sport-tuned suspension and tighter steering feel.
Second Row Lounge Seating
The Toyota Sienna XLE's Lounge Seating offers a Long-Slide feature maximizing legroom, while footrests rise up, virtually transforming the second row seats into Barcaloungers.
Dual View Entertainment Center
The Sienna's Dual View Entertainment Center features two wireless headphones and an extra-wide screen that allows two different movies to play at once. Or in those few families in which the kids agree, one movie can play CinemaScope-style. You'll almost feel like you're watching your flatscreen at home.
Whatever the trim, from lightly equipped base model to decked-out Limited, the Sienna can be easily configured to meet many families' budgets thanks to a number of options and packages. The Sienna can seat up to eight, depending on a choice of captain's chairs or bench seating in the second row, with reasonable leg- and headroom for passengers in all seating positions. The only exception to this is when the lounge seating is deployed to its rearward extreme, which results in nearly non-existent legroom for the third-row riders. The Sienna's third-row seat folds flush into the floor, but we found the manual stowing of the seats difficult to master. Happily, a power-stow option is available. Cargo space in the Sienna is ample and versatile. Additional space can be made by folding down one or both of the 60/40-split rear seats and by completely removing the second row.
Channeling some of the looks of its Venza stablemate, the 2011 Sienna presents a sportier shape that the previous edition with nice details like the rear door slider that is hidden within the window graphic. The strong "shoulder" and well-chiseled fender flares add to the more performance-oriented look. While the new Sienna rides on the same wheelbase as the prior generation, it is wider for interior roominess and slightly shorter overall. The rear of the Sienna sits high and features sculpted sheet metal, LED tail lamps and a rear-lip spoiler - adding a sporty feel to the design.
The base Sienna comes with an MP3-capable CD player with auxiliary input jack, remote keyless entry, dual-sliding doors with power windows, and tri-zone manual air conditioning. Opting for the LE trim adds steering wheel-mounted audio controls, power sliding doors and a Homelink universal transceiver. The SE trim adds its own sport-tuned suspension and steering, leather-trimmed steering wheel and an eight-way power leatherette driver's seat. Moving up to the XLE nets you a six-speaker stereo with a USB port and iPod connectivity, automatic tri-zone climate control, leather and woodgrain interior trim, and heated seats. The upscale Limited adds a JBL sound system, lounge second-row seating, and a power-folding 60/40 third row. All trims offer Toyota's STAR Safety System, airbags for all three rows, plus the XLE features front and rear sonar, which is not for submarine chasing but a parking assist.
Options on the Sienna vary by trim and include all-wheel drive, roof rails, dual-power sliding doors, power seats, Bluetooth connectivity, tri-zone automatic climate control and a power rear hatch. A Dual-View Entertainment Center with wireless headphones is available on XLE and Limited models. The Limited can also be equipped with a Navigation Package, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and rain-sensing wipers.
Two engines are offered in the 2011 Sienna: A new fuel-efficient 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that offers decent off-the-line acceleration and a hearty 3.5-liter V6 with plenty of torque, quiet operation and fuel economy that is remarkably similar to the four cylinder. If you want all-wheel-drive the V6 is your lone choice.
2.7-liter in-line 4
187 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
186 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24
265 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
245 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 (FWD), 16/22 (AWD)
By Marc on Thursday, July 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Driving and handling are top of the line."
Cons: "Reliability is a great concern."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"With just 300 miles on my Sienna it has already been in for engine problems twice. After being in my garge only two days the entire oil content of the engine leak out on the floor. Car was towed to the dealership where the Toyota maintenance techs couldn't find a problem. The car's oil was topped off and I was then sent on my way home. To my un-surprise he next day the my minivan had created new pool of oil. On visit number two to the dealership it was determined the rear oil seal was leaking. This van has almost spent more time on tow trucks and maintenance racks as it has on the road. Other than the oil leak the Sienna drives great. Turning radius, power, and comfort are top of the line. The Sienna drives like a much smaller car."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By LAWNGUYLANDER on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Its tough to get excited about a minivan, until you drive the 2014 XLE. My business partner who drives a Jaguar said'" wow what an awesome looking car" The van has more than enough horsepower to accelerate quickly. Turning radius is very tight and never gives you the impression your navigating a boat. Fit and Finish is luxury level with the XLE trim. All seats are all leather, nice cheery wood trim in the cockpit. All controls are easy to use, Almost all adjusts are power, I .e. seats, sun roof lift gate Heated seats etc. Rear power section has independent digital climate control and stick shift has a "Manual Mode" with gearing 1-6 for steep hills, ice etc. Noise level is zero, ride comfort is living room experience. Driver info system does not require programming degree and is very helpful. We chose forest green metallic with light beige interior. cool rear roof spoiler Downside? Pricey at this trim level but if you can afford it you wont be sorry."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By tjrun on Friday, July 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Best AWD minivan"
Cons: "no automatic lift rear gate"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Perfect minivan for NH seasons. Fall wet leaves, snowy winters, muddy springs, and then there is room forall of the beach gear in the summer too"
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Stewart on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,012overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great car, fun to drive, looks sharp in silver"
Cons: "drivers seat hurts my tail bone"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"You see a lot of Sienna vans out there, but there's something about the SE that catches ones eye. Much better looking than the base or LE model and even better looking than the flagship model. Leather trimmed seats let you breathe rather that sweat, the smoked head and tail lights the ground effects trim, What can I say... Its a good looking van. The coolest minivan out there."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By NowaDodge on Saturday, July 05, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: dissatisfied on reliability
Pros: "Fun to drive and room"
Cons: "Expensive repairs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"We purchased the van new in fall 2010 and from the first winter we were not happy about the defrost. It seemed that the airflow was inadequate even though the dealership said it met factory specs. It would not clear and or keep the windshield clear in snow/cold weather. One day the sunroof button would need to be pressed many times to open/close. Eventually it quit working altogether and we took it to dealership. Told it would be around $1200. I was in shock and going to leave but they said there were some bulletins and took care of it:) As we started to look around at a new Toyota, in the spring of 2014, our van started making a noise. It grew worse and when we took it to dealership they informed us it was the "electro magnetic coupling" and it would be $1875 for fix. We traded it "as is" on a new Ram. We lost faith in Toyota's reliability reputation."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Renella81 on Sunday, June 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Back up moniter, room for my 6 ft 8 husband."
Cons: "visible antenna"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We bought this minivan on my birthday for the extra space it afforded us. We are a family of 5 with a small dog we take with us when we go on long family trips. When I went grocery shopping and I was able to leave the back row usable I knew we had made the right choice in trading in our Highlander. My three children no longer accidentally hit cars next to us with the doors. I should also mention that my husband is 6 foot 8 and we are able to still use the seat directly behind him when he is in the car. I also love that there is an eco button; even though my husband laughs and says it is always on and it could just be a feel good light. My only complaints on this van are minimal and actually a little petty. My first complaint would have to be the antenna what kind of car has a visible antenna anymore? I also wish I had remembered to get the JBL speakers in the van, the music sounds much clearer with the JBL. We looked at so many the day we bought that I got some of them confused with each other; this explains the lack of JBL speakers and the blind spot monitor I thought ours had. I would recommend going with the Limited if you can, it actually has the most bang for your buck."
14 people out of 24 found this review helpful